As I reflect on my experience with the pipe ceremony that I attended on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016, at the University of Regina, I noticed that there were a lot of people present that looked a bit nervous because they did not know what to do or where to go. It seemed like a lot of people were a bit frantic. I on the other hand way thinking of how I was hungry and that I better eat my lunch before we started. I did not feel very nervous going into the pipe ceremony because I felt like I was well prepared for it. The only reasons I felt prepared were because I have attended a similar Indigenous feast ceremony where they did a small pipe ceremony before the food was passed out. The other reason I was not feeling nervous was I felt like I had been given enough information about the pipe ceremony beforehand. I felt like I did not need to know every detail about it beforehand because I felt like that would ruin the pure excitement of not knowing what was going to happen in the ceremony.
This experience was very beneficial for me as a future educator because I felt like I was able to gain more understanding of the Indigenous culture and their traditional ceremonies. I appreciate the way that Indigenous people approach their ceremonies; they seek inclusion, give thanks to their creator and see the beauty in creation and what has been given to them. I also appreciate their calm way of teaching and giving thanks to their creator. I felt very relaxed and peaceful while I participated in the pipe ceremony. I was thankful for how highly Noel talked about women and how we are one of the two givers of life. I also enjoyed watching the males smoke the pipe because that way I did not have to participate in smoking, but was able to appreciate the symbolism and observe what was going on. I think that this ceremony was very beneficial for a lot of people who have never experienced something like this. It would have definitely shaken their views on Indigenous traditions. If I had to participate and smoke a woman’s pipe I do think I would have been stretched a little bit more out of my comfort zone, but thankfully that was not the case.I was surprised that the ceremony was only an hour because I had heard from other students that they usually lasted longer than an hour. I think ours was shorter because there were not that many men who smoked the pipe.
The only discomfort I really experienced during the pipe ceremony was having to wear a long skirt and sit on the ground without my legs crossed; I really only experienced physical discomfort with my back and leg posture. Since that was the only discomfort I experienced I think that it overall was a great experience because I was trying to focus on what was being said and not how I was feeling uncomfortable. I think that this made me uncomfortable because I am not used to sitting in a circle on the ground for a long period of time. Though, I realize that sitting in a circle on the ground is something that happens often in the Indigenous culture. I think that if I wanted to participate in an Indigenous feast, or pipe ceremony with my students it would be a very touching experience. It would most likely be something new for most students in my classroom, but it would be beneficial for my students to see that there are different types of celebrations and ceremonies that people take part in where we live. I would teach the Treaty Education curriculum by teaching my students that Indigenous ceremonies help pass down Indigenous languages, gives opportunities for story telling, pass on knowledge and traditions, is a way of making/sealing promises, and are done to share many symbols with each other.